Our first courses were launched in 1983 under the Health Foundation; an organization formed by Dr Malcolm Marrison. Malcolm's vision of health promotion professionals and his passion for education led him to calaborate with a number of industry role players in health and fitness at the time. As the need for education in this new field grew, our first entity called the Exercise Teachers Association (eta) was launched. We offered our first courses as part-time evening classes at UCT, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council and its team of academics, headed by Professors Tim Noakes, with Professors Vicky Lambert and Mike Lambert running the actual programmes on behalf of the eta.
Our first learning programme was called Exercise and Fitness Studies, this was followed by the launch of the first practical course for exercise to music in 1985. More comperehensive courses for Personal training followed, achieving the first Exercise Teachers Diploma.
In December 1994, Linda Halliday and Steve Harris took over the reins of eta, transforming it into the accredited and registered institution that it is today. It is worth noting that at the time, a regulatory process for the accreditation of South African private educational programmes was not yet in place. The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) had not yet begun its quality assurance of South Africa's qualifications. South Africa had just had its first democratic elections in April 1994, which would mean that there was plenty of positive change ahead for all South Africans.
In 1995 eta moved to the Sport Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). This meant that we would then have access to administration offices and classroom at SSISA, while continuing to work closely with UCT and their faculty.
This move to SSISA led to our first full time courses for school-leavers being launched in 1998, which started off with only 30 students. eta then embarked on a series of upgrades to our student offering, including the launch of our own academic material.
To be registered with the DHET, we had to be first be accredited with the Council on Higher Education(CHE) because the Department did not register providers who were accredited with their SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authority).
In 2001, we received our first certificate for conditional registration with the Department of Education and in 2004 eta achieved full accreditation from THETA (later to become CATHSSETA). In 2005, our programmes were accredited by the CHE.
2008 was the year we had our first site audits by the CHE and eta was then accredited to offer its six higher education level 5 programmes. Our sites of delivery included Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Stellenbosch.
Because there had been a number of changes in the laws governing education and training in South Africa in 2007, we then had to embark on a new alignment process of our higher education programmes to the new Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework. This process of change began in 2010 and by 2012, we had to ensure that our old National Certificates at level 5 would be aligned to the new Higher Certificates.
Following the initiation of the alignment process of our programmes in 2012, by 2015, we were officially notified of our programmes' alignment which meant that our old National Certificate programmes accredited by CHE would now convert to accredited Higher Certificate programmes.
Our conditional CHE accreditation came through for the Advanced Certificate in Fitness (Sport Conditioning) in 2015 and we will be our new level 6, advanced certificate programmes from 2018. Admission to level 6 requires a pass of the level 5 higher certificate. eta College now offers a wide range of higher education programmes.